In the last month, we’ve all been exposed to a new vocabulary.
Phrases like "In these trying times," "It is with an abundance of caution," "Self-quarantine" and "Shelter-in-place" have become the most uttered phrases daily.
But what this time has truly become is one of contradictions.
We are forced together in hordes to purchase our staples at the grocery, but told we can gather in groups of no more than 10 people at other events and venues.
Shoppers wear rubber gloves and face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus, but they may be helping spread the virus if they never change their gloves while going from place to place.
We can’t gather in the parking lot of a church to hear a radio service, but we can fill the parking lot of a drive-in restaurant to purchase dinner.
We have a curfew set for 10 p.m., but there are businesses throughout our town still open after the curfew.
A group of parishioners from one church are fined for violations of the mayor’s executive order restricting gatherings, but a pastor from another church goes on social media and national talk shows to decry the actions.
Our mayor says he is making the decisions and orders to save lives, but has death threats directed at his family over the weekend.
We shut down our lives and wreck our economy for a virus, but continue to more directly endanger our health through self-inflicted diseases brought on by obesity and bad personal habits.
We are constantly living in a world of contradictions.
But, of this, there is no doubt: The First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States allows us the freedom of religion, the right to peaceably assemble, the freedom of the press and to redress our government when we have a grievance.
All of these freedoms were on display this weekend.
• Church services were held;
• Upset citizens’ grievances were heard when the town council made a misstep in enforcing an executive order;
• People gathered on the footsteps of city hall to hear of their council members’ decisions; and
• We, at the newspaper, are free to say we disagree with how the situation last week was handled by both sides of the argument.
There was no need for fines to be levied on church members at Temple Baptist Church, and those fines have been rescinded.
There was no need for the national spotlight to be placed on Greenville for an action that could have easily been talked through civilly.
Both sides of this situation were correct and both sides were wrong.
Let us now pray to God this situation, this virus and this trying time will leave us soon.